Welcome to Autism Central

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Welcome!

Hi! My name is Danielle and I am the creator of Autism Central. One morning while getting ready for work, when I do my best thinking, I started thinking about creating a website for people with autism and caregivers/parents of people with autism to come and share their stories and get advice from one another. I am not diagnosed with autism nor do I have a child with autism however I have a family member diagnosed with autism and am married to a special educator.

The desire to better understand autism was immediate for me. I wanted to know why the diagnosis did not present itself the same way from one person to the next. Sure there are similarities and signs to look for but the range was perplexing.  I had an immediate desire to do anything possible to raise awareness.  My goal is to provide ideas and share current research with the Autism community.

Many advances have been made since I first learned about autism and awareness has certainly been raised. With the help of social media and the Internet, people are able to communicate their thoughts, what works and what doesn’t, and ask questions. My goal is to provide people with a forum to voice their experiences and ask questions in a safe space.  This site can also be used as a tool for finding the latest news stories and helpful information regarding the autism spectrum.

For the loyal followers of this site, you have probably noticed some changes since its origination.  I am continually trying to figure out what formats work best for the viewers. Thank you for your continued support of Autism Central.

- Danielle

Check out the Recent Posts to the right or use the search box to find a topic you are interested in.

A Little About Me

I’m a civil engineer working at a private firm in Connecticut where I design roadways, street treatments for commercial or residential developments, railroad stations and similar projects. I started my college career at the University of Connecticut as a computer science and engineering undergrad and switched to civil engineering in my first year. I have always enjoyed computer programming and writing code which brings me here to web development. I also play several instruments to keep myself sane.

Why do you need to know this? Well, I suppose you don’t but I know I like to know a little about the people I share things with online and I hope that by bringing my own personal information to the site, others will feel comfortable doing the same. Thanks for your continued support and I hope to learn more about each of you as I continue to expand Autism Central.

Why ads?

I placed ads on here to generate revenue from the site’s traffic. I am only one person and don’t have enough time to write as much content as I think this website needs. I’m hoping that the site’s traffic and ad revenue can sustain the need for a writer to join me and also pay for the costs to host the site and pay for the domain. Thanks for your understanding.

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Joe Scarborough, Class Act, Links Aurora Shooter to Autism

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“As soon as I hear about this shooting, I knew who it was. I knew it was a young, white male, probably from an affluent neighborhood, disconnected from society — it happens time and time again. Most of it has to do with mental health; you have these people that are somewhere, I believe, on the autism scale,” said Scarborough, whose son has Asperger’s syndrome. “I don’t know if that’s the case here, but it happens more often than not. People that can walk around in society, they can function on college campuses — they can even excel on college campuses — but are socially disconnected.”

Joe Scarborough, class act… So this is the latest buzz in the autism community. This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, Joe Scarborough, father of a child diagnosed with Asperger’s, said the above. Joe was speaking about the suspected (seriously why do we have to say this?) shooter in the Aurora Colorado massacre last Friday and how he believes he is on the autism spectrum.

Someone please help me understand… what on earth was he thinking? What a terrible and dangerous generalization to make. To insinuate that the highly disturbed individual capable of carrying out one of the deadliest massacre’s on American soil is somewhere on the autism spectrum is inappropriate, dangerous, and ludicrous. What proof does he have? On what basis is he making this far-fetched assumption? And of all people, the father of an autistic child, should understand why it’s not right to say what he said. So Joe, way to go. Way to set the autism community back a few decades by insinuating that all psychotic murderers are likely autistic. What a fantastic use of your political and social power. Now why don’t you do us all a favor and stop talking?

 

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Autism Central Turns 1 Today

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It’s been 1 year since I launched Autism Central!

Since then things have changed a little but I hope you have enjoyed the overall experience when you come to the site. If there is anything you want to see changed, added, etc. please let me know. I am more than open to suggestions and love the feedback. Feel free to leave a comment here or to email me at contact@autism-central.com

Thanks for your continued support and here’s to another year together! Just please don’t leave during the terrible two’s! :)

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Loss of Almost 150 Brains Compromises Autism Research

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The Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center located at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. suffered a major freezer malfunction that thawed almost 150 of the approximately 3,000 brains stored in this facility. Of the brains that were lost due to the malfunction, 54 were specifically for autism research. According to the article in the NY Times, autism will be the most effected of the neurological disorders that are studied at this facility. Dr. Francine Benes, director of the brain bank, told Reuters “This is a significant loss, there’s no doubt about it. It will delay progress in the field of research.” The freezer malfunctioned even though there are two backup alarm systems (that also failed) that alert security staff of any sort of issue with the freezer. This is terrible news for the field of autism research. I can’t imagine the effort that goes into harvesting these samples for research.

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2012 Walk Now for Autism Speaks

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Last weekend I participated in my 5th “Walk Now for Autism Speaks” event. What an amazing turnout they had. My team raised almost $7,000 so far and I will come away with close to $1200 once all my donations are accounted for. I feel very blessed to have such a supportive group of friends, family, and coworkers that contributed to the walk to help me surpass my goal. Our team is photographed below and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

Have any of you participated and if so, how are you all doing with your goals?

2012 Autism Walk Friends of Phoenix

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Autistic Senior from Georgia, Sinclair Coffer, Denied Graduation

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Making news today is the story of, Sinclair Coffer, a high school senior in Georgia who happens to be autistic. He has passed all portions of the state exam required to graduate with the exception of math. No one can claim he hasn’t tried either. His family hired tutors for him and had him take classes over the summer but has failed five attempts at the math portion. According to the local news station, he can apply for a waiver so he can still graduate. Sinclair did just that but for whatever reason, the school board denied his request and won’t let him graduate. What’s more is that Georgia passed a measure that says all students have to pass the math portion of the exam in order to graduate. However, this doesn’t come into effect until NEXT year! So why are they denying Sinclair his appeal to be able to graduate? Well for now, no one seems to know since the board refuses to give his family a reason for the denial.

This hardly seems fair. In fact some are claiming discrimination. Why bother allowing autistic students to apply for this waiver if an acceptance isn’t going to be granted? Sinclair has good grades and has certainly tried numerous times to pass the exam. There seems to be no reason to deny his request. I plan on following this story to see how it turns out. I hope I can report that he gets to graduate and receive his diploma this year.

Sinclair, we’re on your side!

Check out the video on a local station of Sinclair’s battle with the board of education.

http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/18346292/autistic-student-denied-graduation?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7230329

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A Mother’s Day Thought

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What day is today? Today is Mother’s Day!

A little Full House reference to get this post started. So, it’s Mother’s Day. Where does one begin when writing about mother’s day on an autism website? Firstly, I am not a mother. Well, my dog would be pretty upset if she knew I just typed that but in the “conventional” sense I am not a mother. I did not birth another human being or adopt one. My child has four legs, a heart of gold, and only really needs me to feed her and take her out a few times a day. Otherwise my responsibilities include tummy rubs and kisses. So I can’t really write anything and speak on behalf of a mother. Especially not one that has raised a child with autism. So I’m not going to try to. There are plenty of other people that are far more qualified to make those kind of observations. Speaking of, you should check out a diary of a mom if you haven’t yet. I cannot write with the same experiences she can but I encourage you all to check in with her stories. She can offer a lot that I cannot.

I got a little off track there but it was for a good cause so I’ll allow it. So today is mother’s day and there are so many of you, autism mothers, modern day warriors if you will, that deserve to be recognized and might I suggest even pampered for all that you do for your children. But if you’ll allow it, I’d like to talk a little bit about the other mother figures in an autistic child’s life. My mother is a paraprofessional in an elementary school. She works with children on the spectrum or with down syndrome or other disorders that would cause a child to need some help in school, but it’s mostly children with autism. I know that on a daily basis, she’s their school mom. Many of the kids rely on her for comfort and a sense of consistency or routine. She helps them with their assignments or therapies. I think some of them have even called her mom by a mistake. I couldn’t be more proud of my mom, knowing that she is making a difference in these children’s lives just by being there. She advocates for them too. She makes sure the teachers are being fair and not ignoring the kids. Oh, and did I mention my mother-in-law is also a paraprofessional? This year her student has CP but she has also worked with many children with autism. We are all walking together at the Walk Now for Autism Speaks event in June to support our cousin with autism and also the children my mom and mother-in-law have become school moms to over the years.

So if you are reading this and your child has a school mom too, remember to thank them for being your child’s safe place and adult advocate during the day. It’s not easy to do this alone so this mother’s day, I’d like to send a should out to the school moms for all they do for kids with autism.

By the way, this is the song I started the post with in case you didn’t devote the 90′s to watching Full House.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZBNr5foaEo&t=28s

(it doesn’t seem to want to embed so you’ll have to click on the link.)

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